# Definitive statistics: a cry for help

The question is arising in correspondence: where are the definitive stats for footballers.  A link to the Guardian’s fantasy football stats appeared here a couple of days back, and those figures are really interesting, but I was wondering if there is a source below that level.   Someone has to measure all this stuff.

I had it in my mind that “Optima” did stats, and that these were used by TV stations and newspapers, but when I googled them I couldn’t find what I wanted.   This makes me think I have got the name wrong and am confusing statistics with eye-drops or some such.

I’ve often been critical of the stats that appear in papers and on TV over number of shots, shots on target, blocked shots etc, and remember reading that there is an organisation (again Optima comes to mind) that employed loads of half-witted ex-footballers to count the goals…

I am of course being facetious – and in terms of half-witted it is probably me this morning, since I can’t recall the name of the company involved.

Anyway, if you have a source of player performance in terms of tackles, passes, interceptions, and (in the case of Blackburn endless timewasting) could you let me know?

Meanwhile it appears that the O’Neil character is threatening to sue Arsenal and the league if Arsenal get into the champs league and Aston “if you go down, hold your head” Villa, don’t, on the grounds that the Arshavin transfer was late and thus illegal.    Hopefully someone will find the video of our game against Villa, and the actions of their players in that match, and show that O’Neil is not fit to be a manager.  (Mind you nor is Sam the Slug, so maybe the problem is endemic).

Tony (“it’s snowing and I can’t get out of my village to get to work”) Attwood

## 17 Replies to “Definitive statistics: a cry for help”

1. helper says:

OPTA is what I believe you’re thinking of. Unfortunately you have to pay for them, but they do offer an impressive array of statistical products as well as the basic numbers. You can also find the Actim stats on the premier league’s official site. I think its its http://www.premierleague.com but you can always google it.

2. ggs says:

Hi Tony,

This may not be what you’re looking for, but nonetheless I’ve found it quite useful:

http://uk.premiership.fantasysports.yahoo.com/

you may have to register/log in first; and search the team or players in “team manager”.

3. harry says:

I love how, in the last few days, great teams like Chelsea and Liverpool (and the supporters) literally give up playing football when they go a man down. Say what you like about our team, but when we go a man down there’s a lot more fight and footballing prowess than these two ‘better’ teams have showed us in the last 5 days. So many stats quoting ‘we had 87% possesion before the sending off’, and ‘you were never in it until the incident’. If it’s that convincing 11 vs 11, then you should be able to manage better with a man down. Although we’re not playing our sparkling best, the manner in which Chelsea and Pool were unable to keep the ball for any period of time shows just how much they rely on their solid defensive tactics to be where they are today. I can recollect some amazing Arsenal 10 men performances, including outplaying Pool on their own turf with Ljungberg & co

4. harry says:

O Neil and Villa are just getting their knickers in a twist because the media are making a big deal of it not being confirmed untill a day later.

The responsibilty falls with the FA, if they can’t confirm the transfer when the paper work is in on time then there is nothing to report.

There were loads of deals confirmed the next day, this was just the biggest one, heck Steven kelly didn’t get confirmed untill late yesterday.

Nothing at all to worry about.

5. jetha seth says:

am absolutely made up with the result last night!!! Not nescessarily because the filth lost but mostly because it has now highlighted key FACTS that Liverpool fans have been denying for far too long now. 1. Liverpool are absolutely atrocious without Gerrard in the team. They lack a leader and have nobody to look to for inspiration. 2. Rafa is far too defensive minded and his over cautiousness is going to cost them in the long run. Last night 15 minutes to go, need a goal what does Rafa do? brings on Mascherano for Riera who was one of the better pool players. Pathetic. 3. Lucas is absolutely awful and i am putting him in the category of prems worst transfers along with Djemba x2. 4. Rafa’s stubborness over the Keane issue is going to come back to haunt him because his only two good players are now injured!! I am absolutely loving life and if any Liverpool fans disagrees with me on any of the above points then they really are clueless and don’t really have a clue what they are talking about. On a different note, Jagielka has had Torres in his pocket for the last three games now. He deserves an England call-up and i hope he gets one. Ha ha ha ha ha ha

6. will says:

Daniel Levy humiliated the best manager Spurs have had in over a decade, overseen a farcical approach to transfers, and has now put the club in the hands of a man who is out of his depth and blowing wads of money on the wrong players.

What is the logic of spending almost thirty million pounds on two strikers? Don’t let them hide behind the Defoe injury; ‘Arry was making enquiries about more forwards before Defoe got injured, hence the interest in Craig Bellamy. What are Spurs going to do with five Premier League standard strikers who cannot play with each other?

In the same month Redknapp has signed an odious full-back who didn’t give a s*** about Spurs when they were decent and who wasn’t good enough first time round, and a former goalkeeper to replace someone who, despite being as consistent as a shivering dog’s dump, is still one of their better performers this season. Wilson Palacios might turn out to be the holding midfielder they need, but at £14 million he’d better be, and am I the only one who thinks Redknapp has taken a gamble on the back of one good performance? Despite another £40 million + splurge, the improvements to the squad are marginal: there’s no left-sided midfielder, or anyone to adequately cover for the simian sicknote they call Gareth Bale. Is ‘Arry going to try crap performances on the squad now he’s blown all the cash so unwisely? Knowing him, undoubtedly, but it’ll be an even less compelling argument.

The last few, extravagant, years have been funded, at least in part, by the windfalls Spurs received for Berbatov, Carrick and Keane. Even with the profit they made on Keane, there is nothing in the Spurs squad (Modric might end up going for a lot, but he cost a lot in the first place) to suggest that there are any windfalls in the pipeline. In fact there are very few players that they can hope to make a profit on. Levy has overseen the squandering of a huge transfer fund, and Redknapp has been more than happy to help out.

The league would be worse off without Tottenham. As an Arsenal fan I’d laugh, but the North London derby regularly produces classics (even if sometimes those classics make me want to bring intense and long-lasting harm to Devid Bentley’s stupid face) and a club with their history and style belongs in the top tier. With the run of games they are facing and the squad as unbalanced as always the biggest hope of them staying up might be for three other teams (probably ‘Boro, West Brom and Newcastle) to be even worse. But if it’s not, we all know who to blame.

7. gary says:

Robbie Keane’s failure at Liverpool is not due to him not getting a chance. He has played more often than not this season especially in the early part of the season where he was involved in every one of the first 15 (league) games, starting 13. He also started in four of our six CL group games. There is no denying that Keane was given plenty of time to make an impact in a Liverpool shirt, and he failed to take the opportunity.

It’s not Robbie Keane’s fault that he is too short and weak to play the lone striker role our best formation demands. It’s not his fault that he can’t play up front with Kuyt, or that the only striker at Liverpool he showed an inkling of understanding with is 19 and a fair few years off a regular first-team place. It’s also not his fault that Torres, his intended strike partner, has had an injury-plagued season and they haven’t had the chance to develop an understanding.

However it is not sufficient for a £20m striker to be solely capable of playing in one formation and role. He can’t play up front on his own, he can’t play there with Babel or with Kuyt. He probably could have done with Torres (who couldn’t?) but that’s simply not good enough, especially since we had Gerrard doing quite nicely there before he turned up. In short, he didn’t provide the ‘possibilities’ that Rafa thrives on and this, combined with him throwing a paddy every time he was subbed after another anonymous seventy minutes, was what forced him out of the club. Although it seems misguided to let him go without securing a replacement, let’s be honest here, in most of his games it was like playing with ten men anyway, so I doubt it will make much difference.

I don’t hold Keane’s limitations against him, and wish him all the best on his return to Spurs. But Robbie, before you score against us on the last day of the season remember this: If we win the league you’ll qualify for a winner’s medal…

8. Jonny Neale says:

Gary – I’m interested,

does Rafa not take a lot of responsibility in not getting the best out of Keane? Rafa seems to have now, rather conveniently, distanced himself from the signing (claiming the club signed him) in spite of making absolutely no objections at the time. In fact I seem to recall him being very positive about what Robbie would bring to the side.

Robbie’s failure is as much Rafa’s – with the ever changing team and his inability to find a suitable formation to suit Keane (which lets face it he was scoring freely for Spurs so just how difficult could it have been to adapt?).

My thoughts are that I just about understand selling Keane back (bad business overall though it was) but, if you are selling why no replacement? There is simply no way you can rely on Torres to carry all the weight and when (as is quite probable) his hamstring goes again, the replacements just aren’t good enough – yet. Rafa says it was a gamble but I prefer to gamble with the odds in my favour and this was always badly loaded against him and likely to bite him in the arse.

Some time ago I said that no team other than Man Utd could afford to lose two first choice strikers but Rafa has rubbished this notion by selling one of his! Well maybe not first choice but nonetheless a proven striker with over 100 prem goals, who Rafa dropped after he had scored 3 goals in 2 games and who subsequently never recovered his form!!!

The ‘fire power’ run in looks like this…I leave it to you to guess who is best equipped to cope with injuries…

Man Utd – Rooney, Tevez, Berbatov, Wellbeck (Ronaldo, Scholes, Giggs)
Liverpool – Torres, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel, Ngog, El Zhar (Gerrard, Riera)
Chelsea – Anelka, Drogba, Kalou, Di Santo (Lampard, Cole)
Villa – Abonglahor, Carew, Heskey, Harewood, Delfenesou (Young)
Arsenal – Adebayor, Van Persie, Eduardo, Arshavin, Bentdner (Walcott, Nasri, Vela)

9. don't believe the hype says:

Have I wandered into a Liverpool or spurs blog by mistake? I thought this was untold ARSENAL?

10. Jonny Neale says:

Awww let them stay a while – they are probably just poor refugees seeking a world of sanity.

11. “Don’t believe the hype” – I’m seeing that as an ironic statement, which is of course the sort of humour I enjoy.

But just in case anyone is thinking seriously about such a point, I’d say I think it is great that we can actually have a serious conversation about our rivals, as well as (on other occasions) rubbish them.

Living outside London I inevitably meet people who support every possible club, and where they are willing to have an open conversation with me about their club and my club, of course I do that. I know some people can’t meet a Tottenham fan without attempting to hurl abuse at him, but I do think it is possible to be utterly biased in the ground and in the pub, but reasonable in discussion about out clubs in other circumstances.

One of the great sadnesses I always felt with the Guardian blogs was that each discussion immediately slipped into supporters of each of the major teams hitting out at each other, without anyone being able to have proper debate about relative merits.

The reality for me is that I will swear blind that Berbatov is the devil incarnate while I am in the pub or at a game, but I will openly admit to any Man U fan that when Arsenal play them I am happier if he has a slight cold and can’t make it onto the park.

12. Joel Cairo says:

Actim is interesting. It ranks Ade as 20th best player in the league, and Van Persie as 77th, just behind…Kevin Davies!

World turns upside down.

The Opta stats show just how much Denilson handles (footles?) the ball.